I’m beside myself with excitement that Dr Junger was gracious enough to take some time out of his busy schedule (check out his recent appearance on the Dr Oz Show) to share how his Clean program can benefit those of us with food intolerances or allergies. As an aside, he’s Gwyneth Paltrow’s doc, and as those of you signed up to her Goop newsletter no doubt are aware, Gwynnie is the reigning celebrity detox queen!
Clean came into my life as I was struggling to feed myself. Newly diagnosed with histamine intolerance (now clarified as mast cell activaion disorder), I was bewildered as to what to eat. Thankfully someone was good enough to save my life by creating the Kindle, and I was able to download a copy of his book while living (if you can call it that) in Bangkok. Much to my incredible relief, the list of foods to avoid while on this cleanse were almost word for word the list I had been given when diagnosed! Unable to believe my luck, I began the three week cleanse that helped me understand that nutrition was the key to recovery.
A recent Clean tune up was just what the doctor ordered! I felt energised, even though I cooked most of my evening soups. You’ll find my take on Dr Junger’s Clean detox mint soup just under the interview below.
Let’s first be clear that food allergies are different from food intolerances. Think of them both on a continuum from “no reaction” to “very strong allergic reaction” ( an anaphylactic reaction). Food sensitivities and strong food allergies can fall anywhere on this continuum of reaction. The issue is complex because many of these foods can cause reactions and sensitivities based on the quantity eaten and in combination with other foods (i.e. when grains are eaten with animal protein).
We call these foods, Toxic Triggers, or foods that cause indigestion, inflammation, bloating, fatigue, and, if consumed over long periods of time, minor sicknesses, full-blown diseases, and major health challenges.
The most common toxic triggers are gluten, dairy, sugar, coffee, alcohol, and nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potato).
The Cleanse helps people with food sensitivities in three ways:
1. It removes the majors foods that cause sensitivities and helps you identify which foods were causing you problems.
2. It rests the gut from the toxic triggers listed above, so that it can begin to repair itself .
3. You take specific supplements to replenish gut flora (probiotic) and reduce pathogenic bacteria (Berberine formula). The good flora helps digest food better and absorb nutrients. The berberine formula reduces the pathogenic bacteria that are partially to blame for bloating and digestive upset.
When you have finished your 21 days of the program, you enter the reintroduction phase. This is when you reintroduce many of the toxic trigger foods like dairy and gluten to see how they affect you. Because you have removed them for 21 days, your body acts as a good barometer for how the foods actually affect you. When you eat trigger foods all the time, it’s difficult to see how they affect you, we often just think our body’s response to, for example, gluten, is part of normal digestion. It’s revolutionary to think that you can eat food without any after meal fatigue, gas, bloating or indigestion!
When your program is finished you have reduced toxins in the body, helped support the body’s natural ability to repair itself, and figured out which foods work best for you. This knowledge, if you take it seriously, can go a long way in developing your own way of eating that keeps you well and strong and clear of food sensitivities.
Founder of the Clean Program, Dr.Junger was born in Uruguay. He graduated from medical school there in 1990 and moved to New York City for his postgraduate training. He completed three years of training in Internal Medicine at NYU Downtown Hospital and three more years of fellowship in Cardiovascular Diseases at Lenox Hill Hospital.
The drastic change in lifestyle and diet resulting from his move to New York City soon showed up as irritable bowel syndrome and depression. Becoming a patient of the system he was practicing was such a shock, that it started his journey in search of an alternative solution to his health problems.
His findings are the subject of his first book, Clean: The Revolutionary Program To Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself, where Dr. Junger describes how he became aware of the toxicity of our planet. He also explains how detoxification and cleansing have been around for thousands of years, but the knowledge has been lost, and right now it’s more important than ever to reclaim this information. Most importantly, Clean is a manual for readers to learn how to turn on and work with their own detoxification systems to restore and maintain optimal health.
CLEAN DETOX MINTY SOUP
Prep Time: 5 | Cook Time: 0 | Servings: 1 – 2 | Difficulty: Easy Peasy!
2 (refrigerated) cucumbers
1/4 cup mint
1/4 cup almonds
1/2 – 1 tbsp olive or nigella sativa oil
Optional: a few cubes of ice
Blend and enjoy!
Anti-inflammatory: cucumber, mint, almonds, nigella sativa, olive oil
Antihistaminic: nigella sativa oil, mint.